Facebook is making this change because they’ve heard from people that they want more clarity about the privacy settings for their groups. Having two privacy settings — public and private — will help make it clearer about who can find the group and see the members and posts that are part of it. They’ve also heard that most people prefer to use the terms “public” and “private” to describe the privacy settings of groups they belong to.

Facebook announced that they are updating group privacy settings and working to better moderate bad content breaking the platform’s rules. The platform is renaming its confusing public, closed, and secret group settings to the slightly more straightforward public and private settings, with the option to make private groups visible or hidden to non-members. The change is part of an ongoing effort to improve group safety, through features like giving admins more moderation tools and members the option to see the group’s history and preview its content before accepting or declining an invitation.

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New Groups Privacy Settings

With two clear options, this new privacy model is much more intuitive. Public groups allow anyone to see who’s in the group and everything that’s shared there. With private groups, only members can see who else is in the group and what they’ve posted.

Facebook says that people wanted more control over how their groups can be discovered. So now admins will be able to clearly choose whether or not the group can be found in search and other places. By separating the privacy settings for posts and group membership from the overall discoverability of the group, it is easier for admins to understand and manage their group privacy settings, and also easier for members to know important information like who can find the group.

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By default, a group that was formerly “secret” will now be “private” and “hidden.” A group that was formerly “closed” will now be “private” and “visible.” Groups that are “public” will remain “public” and “visible.” Admins can find the new controls in their Group Settings. Just as it is today, there are restrictions to if and when an admin can change the privacy setting of a group. Group members are always notified when an admin updates the group’s privacy setting.

Facebook is committed to ensuring that people have a safe experience on Facebook. Over the last few years, they’ve invested heavily in people and technology, hiring more than 30,000 people across our safety and security teams. Within this, a specialized team has been working on the Safe Communities Initiative, with the goal of protecting people using Facebook Groups from harm. Much of the work they do is around proactively identifying and removing posts and groups that break our rules, across both private and public groups.

Increasingly, Facebook is using AI and machine learning to proactively detect bad content before anyone reports it, and sometimes before people even see it. As content is flagged by our systems or reported by people, trained reviewers consider context and determine whether the content violates our Community Standards. We then use these examples to train our technology to get better at finding and removing similar content.